Patti Edmon Altered Attic: November 2010

Saturday, November 20, 2010

The Winds of Change

Most everyone reading this is familiar with Seth Apter and the myriad projects he manages, along with creating his own art... does he ever sleep?? He spends so much time and energy on connecting the mixed media community, through his visits to studios, book reviews, and giving us a window into the 'hearts and minds' of so many talented artists.

I wonder though, if you have taken a moment to check out his book, created with Roxanne Evans Stout. I haven't yet 'met' Roxanne, but the collaboration between these two is amazing... seamless. The depth of each piece of art makes me want to reach in and, not touch of course:), but study it again and again.

A phrase written by the artist accompanies the art in The Winds of Change. They share their reflections, sentiments about Autumn, change, evolution, staying on the path... such an inspirational vision of a time, a life stage, a season, that is often fleeting but lingers in the soul.

Earlier in my life, fall was a visually stunning, yet emotionally troubling time for me; not so much for the introduction to an icy cold winter, but a vague sense of loss. It is the time of year when I left my native Upstate New York, relocated to Kentucky. I was a senior in high school and the friends and (boyfriend!) and memories I left behind would fall like tumbling bricks in my heart each year. That is, until I recognized the grief and let it flow into my words, art, photographs.

All of us have such stories, perhaps not equated with a season, but as Roxanne so deftly puts it, "Brittle leaves drift no longer."
If you haven't yet taken a peek, or stocked up on copies for yourself (and others!), I'd highly recommend it - perhaps it will speak to you as well.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Skirts for Salvation

Back in August, we got a call asking if Jim and I would create Christmas tree skirts to benefit our local Salvation Army. How could I say no? The days were long and hot and the studio was the coolest place to be.
My immediate thought was to create snow people with funky hats... This endeavor was a big shift from the wedding project and I didn't even start until 2 days before the skirts were to be delivered. Fortunately, my darling husband, Jim, had finished his prancing reindeer skirt in plenty of time to help with the background and mounds of snow.
Making the hats was my favorite part. Even in a time crunch I never knew there were so many fashion variations! I didn't even use half my ideas, which made cleaning up a royal mess.

If you're so inclined, visit Bluegrass Home Interiors, view all 32 skirts and cast a vote. Or two. It's for a great cause!

Real snow people wear hats!

And Jim's fabulous contribution - reindeer prancing for charity.

A few of my favorite hats...

Monday, November 8, 2010

I now pronounce thee finished!

Once in a while, fortune does smile; while I didn't sell any canvases at the gallery show, a woman who loved my journals was also busy with the details of her daughter's impending wedding. She commissioned me to create three projects - the guest book, a box for envelopes and a photo album.

Aside from two belts and a bag of jewelry and knowing the colors - ivory and aubergine, she gave me no direction whatsoever. Just do what you do... if you love it, I'll love it. I must admit that, four weeks before the wedding, I was a bit daunted, however, I've never turned away from a challenge.

I purchased a 9 x 12 sketch book, blank photo album and pulled a cigar box from my stash. I'd like to say that it was a breeze, but any artist who has ever had a commission with a deadline knows better.

I started on the guest book. The background was not a problem, of course, that's always my favorite part - gluing, sponging, dabbing, adding more layers.... The belt buckle decided to be the centerpiece, since no photos were to be used. I extracted it from the leather and ground the stems down, made a sheet of paper for petals and designed the rest of the cover.

I couldn't find a guest book, or journal even, with lined pages - so we (my hero-hubby Jim) printed them out and I learned just how difficult it is to glue paper to paper, evenly and without smudges. I used a jar of Yes!, recommended by a friend, and for that I was thankful - no rippling or bubbles.

I had a piece left over from the bride's dress alteration and it seemed the perfect focal point for the box cover. After I had decided on the concept, it occurred to me that the box would be open during its use, so on to more design.

I chose a cigar box because I usually use reclaimed pieces; making functional art, however, is entirely different from working on canvas. I found that adding paint didn't leave enough clearance for the lid to
open and close - at all - much less smoothly. I shaved away enough of the inside of the lid for it to work, thankfully without losing the hinges.

The photo album was the easiest piece, so I'm very happy that I saved it for last, though there always seemed to be just one more detail... I was immersed for three weeks, putting all else aside, like blog posting and visiting, staying in touch with friends, cooking and laundry.
The client was extremely pleased when I delivered what felt like a chunk of my life; the wedding was this past Saturday and I never did meet the bride, but now that they've debuted publicly I wanted to share.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010


It is inevitable... autumn paints fiery colors across the trees, winds shift and chill, light disappears early in the evening. Yet each year it feels like the first, as does every other change of season. I suppose for those of us who do not transition easily, this isn't a negative, as it allows a fresh eye, open to seeing new detail in well-familiar sights.
Other transitions are not quite so simple. From fairy princess to teenager, cute little skeleton to rock band drummer... OK, they did dress for Halloween, but aside from the costume, the shifts are seismic and not always pleasant. Does anyone tell a soon-to-be, or new mother that her angel baby will morph into a stranger along about age 13 or so? That so many conversations escalate into arguments... that my 'style' will soon be ridiculous? I suppose the magazine articles were all there, I just didn't read them.
Not much for Woman's Day or Good Housekeeping, I went along my merry, blissfully ignorant way in total denial. Yes, separation is a good thing, the transfer of responsibility, boundaries, all the buzzwords are quite apropos; however, so are stab wounds to the heart, an unexplainable sadness, unshed tears. My husband is counting the days, well years, until our nest is vacant. I, on the other hand, am in no particular hurry.
I am adjusting to the changes and learning to respect space while maintaining order, dishing out what seem like the final lessons and advice that will come from me rather than peers. Though every day is a challenge, most all remind me of why I became a mother. I love every ounce of both of my teens and it's unconditional... as I tell them, no matter what! They are talented, creative, intelligent and a lot of fun. And most of the time I'm still cool:)

I hope this isn't taken as a 'downer' but a bittersweet observation on a life season...


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